Thursday, September 16, 2010

military-industrial complex working fine

From a story in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz today...(boldface is mine)

A ministerial panel headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak made a final decision Thursday to purchase 20 new F-35 fighter jets, despite opposition from a number of senior defense officials over the high cost of the deal.

Barak gave his go-ahead last month to purchase the jets in a deal valued at around $2.75 billion. The first planes are expected to arrive in 2015.

The Israel Air Force, however, will have to make do with considerably fewer planes than the 75 originally sought. The entire deal will be funded by American military...

...Negotiations dragged on for more than two years amid several disagreements; many revolved around the IAF's demands that Israeli-made systems be installed for specialties such as electronic warfare and communications. Israel also wanted to expand the plane's capacity to allow it to carry Israeli-made missiles.

The Americans declined, however, insisting that the deal was a "closed package" and none of the components could be altered.
In any case, the F-35 will give the IAF outstanding radar-dodging capabilities that allow preemptive strikes against enemy states with advanced air defense technologies.
So it's more weapons paid for by the United States and built by the United States going to Israel. The only real argument was over which country's weapons manufacturers would get to jump on the money train.

Note the pre-emptive capability. This is the heart of the "Bush Doctrine" that got us into the mess of Iraq and, since Israel does as it pleases with U.S. weaponry, may get us into another mess.

Interestingly, at the moment, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton is pleading with Netanyahu to stop the settlements, even if only temporarily. From another story in the same issue of Haaretz today...

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Israel on Thursday to extend its freeze of construction in West Bank settlements, telling Channel 10 in an interview that such a move would be "extremely useful" in advancing peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Clinton, who was visiting the region this week for a second round of direct talks between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamain Netanyahu, suggested extending the partial freeze for even a limited amount of time...
So the try for peace is a poor relation to the arming of Israel. Both are regular features in the Middle East. The difference is that the arming goes on successfully year in and year out, while the "peace process" fails to even stop the settlements, let alone make any headway toward justice for the Palestinians. Israeli pilots fly, Palestinians die.

Are you a hip-hop fan? Here's a hip-hop video that makes a statement about terror.


  1. 1) As with the Marshall Plan, which actually gave no spending money directly to Europe, but only credits to buy American goods, these jet sales are a way of subsidizing the American military economy. The logic is straightforward: one needs to keep producing weapons so that capacity (and innovation) will be there when the giving country needs war material. So, generally, the West finds it difficult to stop supplying, e.g., Africa, with killing material. The "cost" lammented by Israel is both a loss to their own military economy (which, as ours, sells weapons abroad to keep its capacity primed) and places the Israeli government at the mercy of American suppliers for parts (the upgrades Israel wanted to install would have been under local, Israeli, productive control; the US must approve of any arms sales to foregin countries). So the principle of denying Israel ramifies into a larger context of an ongoing US weapons productive capacity.

    2) The video, for which I am once again indebted to your informative posts, should also present pictures of Israeli casualties of suicide bombers. Failure to do so forces one to pick a side of violence. There is a story of Gandhi: an iman's house was burned down in a area of Muslim/Hindu tensions. Gandhi stayed inside the ruin for a few days, Hindus coming to protest his stay. When asked by them why he stayed and conversed with the now homeless iman, Gandhi said that he is always on the side of those victimized by violence. He said to his coreligionists, in effect, I am here to argue with you.

    You have a tendency to portray a single victim. There is not. Regression to the Israeli Independence War and before will show that as well. All sides, and there are many sides, will have to accept the scarrs of their unwanted neighbors if peace is to come. If I deny the cries of Israelis, they will deny the cries of Gazans. This position is not a pleasant one to hold, as everyone can come to dislike you; but I see no alternative at all.

  2. Suzuki - I plead guilty to presenting only one side. There are three reasons I do so.

    1) In the United States, only one side has been presented until very recently and that was the side of Israel. That's the viewpoint of the hip-hop video - that terror from formal military operations that kill innocents is ignored.

    2) The damage done by the Palestinians, though horrific in the case of the suicide bombings of the second intifada, are insignificant compared to the amount of carnage done by Israel over decades. In my rough estimate, about 10 Palestinians die for each Israeli and the Palestinians are frequently not militants, while the Israeli casualties are soldiers - with the notable exception of those suicide bombings.

    3) Human life destroyed in the effort for conquest and subjugation I find hard to compare with human life destroyed in an effort to resist eviction and dispossession.

    In short - there is simply no equivalence of an organized program of ethnic cleansing through the use of military power, disregard of the law and colonization, with a desperate attempt to oppose it by any means available.

  3. Nor was there an equivalence between the British occupation of India and its resistence, although those days, partly because of poorer weapons technology, were much less violent.

    I think the overall kill ratio (Palestinian to Israeli deaths), excluding the suicide bombings of 2000, closer to 100:1; certainly this seems to be the case in major Israeli military operations. Yet the fundamental point remains: Israel will not go away, and peace must examine the pain on both sides. In any case, you are hardly responsible for a hip hop video produced on the matter; I understand the sentiment expressed, but I also know how "the opposition" will respond to the chosen images. And I would not have encountered this video without your posting.

    Fighting for peace is an internal matter, against one's own kind as much as against the purported enemy. This I take to be the fundamental insight of Gandhi.